discussion of the origins of the Ohio Company (a formidable land
speculating and settling organization), its activities from 1748
to 1754, the Pennsylvania-Virginia rivalry, and the closing years
of the Company.
No study of the French and Indian War can be complete without the
study of the principal land companies competing for land during
the great land rush of the mid-eighteenth century of which the Ohio
company was by far the largest. Organized in 1748 by a group of
influential men, most of whom were Virginians. The Ohio Company
was founded primarily with the purpose of securing a share of the
Indian trade west of the Alleghenies, a trade that primarily up
to that point, had been mainly in the hands of Pennsylvanians and
The company also planned to construct forts and roads, make settlements,
and develop this country. But a study of the Ohio Company is more
than a study of trade and land development schemes, it is a study
of exploration of a new frontier and its Indian policy and problems,
of colonial jealousy and conflict, and of traders and trader problems.
All of this taking place during the struggle between the French
and English for control and possession of North America, of British
control and imperial policy, and of the on going boundary disputes
between Virginia and Pennsylvania.
The story of The Ohio Company is of major importance in the story
of colonial advancement into the Indian lands of Western Pennsylvania
and the Ohio country. The history of the Ohio Company divides itself
quite naturally into 4 main periods. The first period of The Ohio
Company begins in 1748 with its formation and organization, primarily
by Virginians, and includes exploration of the then Ohio Country
by Christopher Gist. The second phase of The Ohio Company of Virginia
covers roughly the years of the French and Indian War in North America
and the ruination of much of the property of the company. The third
phase of the Ohio Company begins and ends with the legal avenues
pursued by the members of The Ohio Company in their attempt to reclaim
its original land titles put on hold by the Proclamation of 1763
at the end of the French and Indian War. The final phase ends with
The Ohio Company disbanding in dismal failure.
Chapters discuss company origin, personnel of the company, exploration
of Christopher Gist, Pennsylvania and Virginia’s rivalry, Logstown
and Winchester conferences and the most important chapter “The Company
and the F& I War.” Originally published in 1939, The Ohio Company’s
success varied inversely to England’s success against France. When
England’s position was insecure, the company received British approval
and support, but when Britain’s star was ascending, favoritism toward
the company waned. The story of the French and Indian War and the
interests of The Ohio Company of Virginia are indelibly intertwined.
Hardback, 1939 (reprint), 373 pp., Was $39.95, now $29.95.